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2013’s first sunset in Barrow, Alaska – due today


The residents of Barrow, Alaska, will see something tonight that they have not seen since May 10, a sunset.

Ever since 2:54 a.m. on May 11, the sun has been in the sky, keeping the town in continual light. Early Saturday at 1:58 a.m. Alaska Standard Time (AKST), the sun will fall below the horizon, making it the first official sunset on summer for the town.

The reason that Barrow experiences the periods of continual light is due to their close location to the North Pole. As the Earth revolves on its axis, Barrow is turned toward the sun and remains light until the revolution of the Earth turns Barrow away from the sun.

Unfortunately, residents of Barrow will likely not be able to witness the sunset, as a storm system will spread clouds and rain showers across northern Alaska.

This summer has been unusually warm across the Last Frontier. So far this summer, temperatures in Barrow and Anchorage have averaged approximately 2.7 degrees above average, while temperatures in Fairbanks have averaged nearly 4 degrees above average.

Although Anchorage has averaged above normal, the city has yet to break any daily temperature records this summer. The persistent warmth has managed to break a different type of record for the city, however.

Over the past 16 days, Anchorage has either reached or climbed above 70 degrees F. This breaks the old record of set in 2004 when the city had a stretch of 13 consecutive days of at or above 70.

In Fairbanks, the high soared to 84 degrees on Thursday. The high has reached 80 degrees F or higher for 31 days this summer. That is the most such days in Fairbanks, since record-keeping began in 1904. The average number of days Fairbanks reaches 80 degrees or warmer is 11. Currently, this summer is ranked as the second warmest for the city, falling behind the warm summer of 2004.

This warmer weather has also contributed to development of lightning-producing thunderstorms that ignited of dozens of wildfires burning across Alaska over the past few weeks. According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently 76 active wildfires across the state.

This trend in warmer weather will come to an end early next week as a dip in the jet stream will bring the return of more seasonable temperatures across the state.

Weather news by accuWeather.com.

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